Whychus Creek dam to be removed Monday

September 2, 2014
Whychus Creek dam to be removed Monday

A consortium of local nonprofits, public agencies, and representatives from Pine Meadow Ranch will initiate the removal of the last remaining concrete dam on Whychus Creek on September 8.

According to Sisters Ranger District fish biologist Mike Riehle, dam removal will begin on the afternoon of September 8.

A small ceremony will mark the start of the dam removal process. The dam removal project will re-open 13 miles of spawning and rearing habitat for Chinook salmon, steelhead and resident trout, supporting a long-term effort to restore the historic native fisheries in Whychus Creek.

The dam removal is one component of a multifaceted restoration project being completed by the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council, Deschutes National Forest, Deschutes River Conservancy and Pine Meadow Ranch.

Other components of the project include 1.25 miles of stream channel restoration in the vicinity of the dam, restoration of one cubic foot per second (CFS) of permanent streamflow in Whychus Creek, and an upgrade of Pine Meadow Ranch's irrigation system that reduces water usage.

The project's total cost is estimated to be $2 million, supported by funding from the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, Pelton Round-Butte Fund, National Fish & Wildlife Fund's Columbia Basin Water Transactions Program, Reser Family Foundation, National Forest Foundation, and Patagonia.

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An aerial view of a body of water.